Do Perceptions Become Reality? Exploring Principals’ Perceptions, Schools’ SRO/Police Presence, and Student Discipline Reporting Policies

26 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2021 Last revised: 12 Jul 2021

See all articles by Michael Heise

Michael Heise

Cornell Law School

Jason P. Nance

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: April 26, 2021

Abstract

While recent scholarship generally emphasizes how public school principals’ perceptions influence various school safety practices, far less is understood about how principals’ perceptions of school crime risk and academic climate informs schools’ decisions on specific school safety outcomes, including a school’s SRO/police presence and policies on whether to report student disciplinary incidents to law enforcement agencies. Using data drawn from the 2017–18 School Survey on Crime and Safety and 2,500 public schools in the United States, this study examines these questions. The results make clear that the influence of principals’ perceptions vary across different school safety outcomes. Equally important is that the variation appears to be non-random. While the uneven salience of principals’ perceptions does not necessarily dilute their importance to school policies, it does underscore the need for a more granular accounting and understanding of how various important school-level safety outcomes arise.

Keywords: crime risk, school safety, principals’ perceptions, academic climate

Suggested Citation

Heise, Michael and Nance, Jason P., Do Perceptions Become Reality? Exploring Principals’ Perceptions, Schools’ SRO/Police Presence, and Student Discipline Reporting Policies (April 26, 2021). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3834475 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3834475

Michael Heise (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

308 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-0069 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Jason P. Nance

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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